Starting a business can be an overwhelming mix of emotions. Between the excitement and stress, you may find yourself confused with how to start and what you need to do. So, here are some things to consider when starting your own business to help steer you in the right direction.
1. What is your market?
Before launching your product or service, it’s crucial you do your homework and fully understand your market first. That means knowing your audience/customers and sussing out your competitors too.
For your business to succeed, you need to know precisely who your customers are and why they would want your product or service. What are your customers’ demographics? How old are they? Where are they from? Are they male or female? Why do they need your product or service? Etc.
Who are your competitors? Research what other companies similar to yours are doing and if you can do a better job. Can you offer something different to make you stand out? Are you offering something unique?
2. How will you manufacture and distribute?
If your business relies on products, you need to establish where you will source them from and at what price. Finding a manufacturer that is reliable, delivers on time and all for a reasonable price can be time-consuming hard work.
The process of designing, creating samples and getting the product exactly how you want it requires patience and you may have to go through this many times with different manufacturers until you’re happy with the result.
Before committing to a manufacturer, make sure a clear agreement is in place stating exactly what you expect and for what price as some manufacturers will increase the price of your product months or even later which can cause you hassle, affect your margins and be detrimental to your business.
How many units do you need to start the business? How much money will you need to pay for those units? How will your product be distributed? Will your manufacturer drop-ship or do you need to hold stock?
3. How will you sell?
This depends largely on where your audience is and what your product or service is. Will you need a location for your business? Will you need a shop front, office, warehouse or another point of sale? If so, you need to consider the cost of buying or renting commercial space as well as the cost of staff. Or, maybe your business will be online with staff who work remotely from home? Factoring these costs into your plan is crucial for you to make money.
Marketing your business is vital for it to be a success and it’s essential you plan how you’re going to get your business noticed. Without a strong marketing strategy, no one will know about what you have to offer, meaning no sales!
How you market your business depends on what your product or service is and where your audience is, however, there are a few essential things that every business should have. A website is a no-brainer for any company today as ‘google-ing’ is the most common way for consumers to find what they want online or find out where something is sold. If you don’t have a website for your business, you’re invisible to the millions of people that use the internet every day to shop.
Social media is a great way to market any business but especially useful for start-ups as it’s free! Using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the likes of is a great way to get your product or service in front of people. If you have a marketing budget, great! – use it to promote posts and run ads on social media or Google to help to grow your business faster.
You should also consider offline marketing, especially if your business has a shop front/point of sale location. Consider things like branding, brochures, flyers, and billboards. Where will people see your business? Try and think of savvy ways to advertise without having to spend a fortune. Some of the best marketing campaigns have been the result of a zero marketing budget.
If you’re too busy managing the day-to-day tasks of the business, hire someone to do the marketing for you as ignoring marketing entirely will probably result in your business failing.
4. How will you grow?
Where do you see your business in a few years from now? How will you develop your products or services and is there room for you to innovate in the future? How can your product diversify? Will your service be needed in years to come?
Although you’re only now starting out, setting a clear vision for the future is vital for the business to be lasting success.
5. Will you need funding?
Many entrepreneurs have great ideas, they just lack the cash to turn that idea into reality. If this is you, there are funding options available to help. Crowdfunding platforms, angel investors and venture capitalists are a great way to help get your business off the ground. Most will require a deck, this is a simplified version of your business plan which demonstrates your idea, why you need the money you’re asking for, and how you predict to grow the business. However, seeking investment isn’t a quick and easy process, and entrepreneurs need to decide if funding is really crucial before spending time and energy in the process.
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